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See What I Have Done

3.18  ·  Rating details ·  14,216 ratings  ·  2,602 reviews
In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.

On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, M
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 by Tinder Press
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Cassandra I just read We Have Always Lived in the Castle a few months ago, and while parallels didn't occur to me while I was reading See What I Have Done...yea…moreI just read We Have Always Lived in the Castle a few months ago, and while parallels didn't occur to me while I was reading See What I Have Done...yeah, now that you mention it I can see it. I'd say the biggest difference is that See What I Have Done doesn't emphasize the reactions/suspicions of the larger community the way We Have Always Lived in the Castle does. (less)

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Average rating 3.18  · 
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Jenna 🍁🍂🧡🍎
I’m removing my review based on a personal commitment to not place unnecessarily negative content on Goodreads - there is enough ugliness in the world already, and I realized it doesn’t give me any joy to shit on writing that an author labored over and especially that gives other readers much-needed pleasure in these hard times - but suffice it to say that this book really didn’t work for me! (OK, those of you who remember my original review will recall that it REALLY REALLY didn’t work out for ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 out of 5 stars to See What I Have Done, a historical fictional account of the "Lizzie Borden Axe Murders," written by Sarah Schmidt and set to be published on August 1, 2017. Many thanks to NetGalley, Grove Atlantic Monthly Press and the author for providing me with an Advanced Review Copy (ARC) of this fantastic book.

Why This Book
I've become a NetGalley member and saw this in the update feeds of a few fellow Goodreads' members. I am fascinated with historical re-telling of real-li
Felice Laverne
See my exclusive interview with Sarah Schmidt about her novel See What I Have Done here!

Sarah Schmidt's See What I Have Done is a novel that has the advantage of having a truly titillating premise and a built-in fan base of readers who already know of Miss Lizzie Borden’s infamy:

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

If you’ve ever sung that “nursery rhyme” to yourself, you’re already at least a step ahead. See Wha
Always Pouting
Lizzie Borden walks into the drawing room of her house one morning to her father's mutilated body and begins to scream out for the maid to come help. Soon after her stepmother's body is found upstairs and law enforcement is called into investigate. Lizzie's sister Emma has to come back home after finally moving away to try and create a life for herself independent of her sister. The book follows by re accounting the events leading up the day of the murders, painting a picture of a dysfunctional ...more
See my full review @

I was so excited to start this book because I love retellings and honestly didn’t know the whole story behind the accusations of Lizzie Bordon murdering her parents with an ax in 1892. I decided to get online and read about the true story so that I would have an idea about what really went down that August morning in 1892.

The book starts with an introduction to that morning the ax murdering took place in Fall River, Massachusetts. Lizz
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
4 Stars.

A family at its most dysfunctional. What happened is therefore, not exactly surprising.. Its retelling is however, brilliantly done. “See What I Have Done” is the historical retelling of the story of Lizzie Borden, by Sarah Schmidt. You’ve all heard the story:

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

As we all know, Lizzie Borden was tried and acquitted for her alleged crimes because there was no hard evidence –
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, fiction
There are many good things in this book that would make this a great choice for a different reader. Sadly I am not that reader. I was super excited about this book - it was on plenty of people's "most anticipated" lists, both covers are absolutely stunning, and the bit of the blurb that I read sounded exciting. I had some misconceptions though: I did not realize that this book would be gritty historical fiction, I did not realize that Lizzie Borden was 32, and for some reason I thought it would ...more

Australian author Sarah Schmidt’s debut is a clever, gritty, vision of one of the most infamous unsolved crimes of history, beginning on the morning of the murder, when Lizzie calls the maid, telling her:

“Someone’s killed Father”.

These things are true:

Lizzie Borden was born 19 July 1860 in Fall River, Massachusetts, she lived and died in that same town. Lizzie Andrew Borden, her full name, was tried and acquitted in 1892 for the murders of her father and stepmother in Fall
Diane S ☔
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have never read anything before, fictional or not, about these murders though of course I have heard the rhyme. This is a very interesting take on the Borden family and the murders of the two elder Bordens. Emma, ten years older than Lizzie, a young woman who has had to take on the role as main confidante and caregiver of a younger Lizzie. She promised her mother on her deathbed and Lizzie took full advantage of this promise. Emma, though was not in the house during the times of the murders. L ...more
See What I have Done by Sarah Schmidt is a 2017 Atlantic Monthly Press publication.

After seeing some reviews for this book pop up on Goodreads and realizing the book was based on the infamous Lizzie Borden murders, I knew I had to read it.

For decades, I have been fascinated by the Borden murders, never quite sure if I fully believed in Lizzie’s guilt or innocence. I’ve read true crime and historical fiction based on Lizzie or the murders in general. Some of these novels are quite convincing, f
Hannah Greendale
Sluggish, flat, and ineffectual. Schmidt’s prose is awkward, and her slant on the Borden murders is soporific.
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-stars-books
5 "rhythmic, revolting, riveting" stars !

4th Favorite Read of 2019 Award

To say that I loved this debut novel by Sarah Schmidt would be an understatement !

Ms. Schmidt has taken this well known piece of history and created through character studies and immense and intense sensuality an alternate yet plausible understanding of this familial double murder.

In this re-imagining we are taken into Lizzie's interior world, her sister's sacrifices, Bridget the maid's mistreatment and a hired killer to
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
“Someone’s killed Father”

Someone indeed! Andrew and Abby Borden were murdered in their home on August 4, 1892 between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m in Fall River, Massachusetts. Abby was killed first and then Andrew. Their bodies were found in different rooms - Abby upstairs and Andrew in his office. Lizzie Borden was arrested for the murders and spent 10 months in jail and after an hour and a half deliberation, the jury acquitted her of Murder.

Most people have heard the rhyme:

Lizzie Borden took an ax
Axes....Murder....Multilation, and one Creepy Family....1892 Fall River, Massachusetts.

Sarah Schmidt does a great job of presenting this work of historical fiction about the life and times of Lizzie Borden complete with factual data and Creepy atmosphere.

As a matter of fact, the whole Borden family REALLY is a bit off, and it seems everyone dislikes.......well everyone including the maid Bridget who just wants to get the hell out of dodge, older sister Emma who desperately seeks separation from

Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Lizzie Borden's story continues to fascinate me the world.

This is probably one of the better tellings of her story that I've read. Who cares if this book is fiction? It takes you so many ways.

Way One: The author doesn't just shine a spot light on Lizzie. She takes the time to flesh out all the surrounding characters. You get a feel for the whole household. (And it ain't pretty)

Way Two: I thought the author had an unhealthy obsession with food at first. There are so many descriptio
Jul 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I think everyone knows the old rhyme about Lizzie Borden. But I would think that most folks, like me, never knew the actual facts of the murders. Well, this book sets out to tell the story of the days before, of and after the murders. The Bordens are just some strange people. No one really gets along with each other, let alone loves or cares for each other. Lizzie’s mental state is questionable and her character the most unlikeable. Emma is the only one for whom I felt any sympathy.

Each chapter
destiny ♡ howling libraries
I really, really wanted to love this book. The synopsis sounds so cool, I love hist-fic (especially regarding famous murders), and the cover is gorgeous. I was so excited when I was approved for the ARC!

Sadly... I just can't do it. I tried really hard, but this writing style is horrible. I have never cringed so much in the first chapter of a book as I did in this one. I might try it again someday, but for now, I'm just going to have to DNF this one.

Quite interesting debut novel though given all these raving reviews here and there a bit letdown too, at least to this reader. See what I have done follows a famous case of double murder in the house at 92 Second Street at Fall River, Massachusetts. Abby and Andrew Borden were killed with an axe and Andrew's younger daughter, Lizzie, was tried for murder. And finally acquited. The perpetrator was never found. That’s for facts.

The novel in regard to subject matter and historical background coul
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41.”

This debut novel fictionalises the infamous murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in 1892. The story is told from the point of view of Emma and Lizzie – Andrew’s two adult daughters, who lived with their father and stepmother, the family’s Irish maid, Bridget, and of a man named Benjamin, who is asked to accompany Emma and Lizzie’s Uncle John to the small town of Fall River, Massachuse
Ellen Gail
Surprise slam dunk of the year!

I am paralyzed. My brain can't deal with this right now. HOW DID I LIKE THIS SO MUCH? Like who gave this book permission to blindside me with so much beautiful weirdness?

This needs to be on your TBR.

See What I Have Done easily earns 5 stars, and may earn a place on my favorites shelf too. We shall see.

Are you familiar with the tale of Lizzie Borden? I feel like most people are, but then again, I try not to assume. Perhaps you've heard the schoolyard chant?

Sarah Joint

I wanted to love this book, but it fell a little short. Like many people, I'm fairly familiar with the story of Lizzie Borden. I love creepy reads, so I was excited to begin this one. Very unique style of writing, but sometimes it actually felt TOO descriptive. My focus started to wane while I was reading as a result. I've never been grossed out so much by simply eating before. It is genuinely creepy though. Getting inside the brain of Lizzie Borden (and others) is very disturbing. The family i
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
3.5 rounded up to 4 stars. Longlisted for the Women's Prize

Fall Rivers, 1892

This book started and my head became a whirling dervish because Sarah Schmidt lands readers right into the unsettled mind of 32 year old, Lizzie Borden. With her father and stepmother brutally killed and neighbors asking questions, the atmosphere about what could have happened in the Borden household continues to haunt many 125 years later. Schmidt adds the voices of the Borden maid, Bridget, older sister, Emma, and a m
Book Riot Community
It will surprise zero people to learn that I am obsessed with the Lizzie Borden and the axe murders of 1892, so when I heard there was a new novel about the case coming next year, I squealed and squealed. If you don’t know Lizzie Borden, she was the OJ Simpson of her time: famously accused of killing her father and stepmother, then acquitted after the century’s biggest trial, despite the overwhelming public opinion that she was guilty. (Basically, a jury of twelve men let her go because they did ...more
Liz Barnsley
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superb. Insanely good writing. Review on hold until nearer publication. But put it on your wishlist would be my recommendation.
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This was a struggle and far from a satisfying read. Sarah Schmidt is exceptionally talented when it comes to all the things you can see and hear and feel and taste. Your senses are battered by the book, so much so that at times you can feel it lodged in the back of your throat. Yet all the other essential bits that make up the narrative are disjointed and disappointing.

The four voices did not match their characters, this was especially evident for Lizzie. I had heard about the Borden murders pr
First of all I was really looking forward to reading this book as the case involving Lizzie Borden was interesting , but the start wasn't gripping I found the characters boring & It never picked up at all.
The plot goes back & forth with multiple POV's I just couldn't connect with this one at all was way to slow for me.
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Okay, I'm not gonna lie, this caught my eye on NetGalley because it had a pigeon on the cover and—long story short—I really love pigeons and think they are underrated birds that deserve more love. When I read the description I was a bit confused about what pigeons had to do with Lizzie Borden, but super intrigued by the premise.

See What I Have Done is a fascinatingly twisted and beautifully written book. It tells the story of the dysfunctional family behind the real-life horror story, about the
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
In the annals of murder and horrific crimes, one that seems to have persisted through history is the story of Lizzie Borden and the murders committed when her parents were horribly killed by someone wielding an ax.

What Ms Schmidt has done in her novel is to try to work her way into the minds and hearts of the principal characters present in that event. What she has created is an atmospheric presence of both macabre horror and the development of the principal characters that is mesmerizing and f
Dannii Elle
This is my fifth book read in the Women's Prize for Fiction longlist. Actual rating 3.5/5 stars.

This is the re-imaging of the infamous Lizzie Borden, incarcerated for ten months for axing her father and step-mother to death and later released due to lack of evidence. This fictional recounting of the grisly, historical crime utilises the perspectives of Lizzie herself, as well as sister, Emma, their Uncle John, the household maid, and a mysterious (and completely fictional) stranger.

I begun my re
Joce (squibblesreads)

- So much vomit. If you have emetophobia, steer CLEAR.
- Balance of dialogue vs prose didn't work for me. Can't quite put my finger on it but when there was dialogue I wanted prose and when there was prose I wanted dialogue. Perhaps just could have improved on the placement of both when describing and going through certain events...?
- Each chapter began with a date but the timeline seemed unclear and murky. Would jump around and I foun
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Mary Lib Saleh Eu...: Historical Fiction October 1 6 Oct 29, 2020 09:13AM  
Monday Night Book...: See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt 1 14 Jan 17, 2018 08:39AM  

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Sarah Schmidt is a Melbourne based writer who happens to work at a public library.
See What I Have Done is her first novel.

Sarah is currently watching:
Nathan for You
A shit ton of YouTube for 'research purposes’
Lady Dynamite (re watch)

Sarah is currently reading:
Cove - Cynan Jones

Last Read:
Hourglass - Dani Shapiro

Things Sarah has burnt this week:
Her face, cheese on toast

Sarah is currently listening

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